Devolved apes sifting the news: Years ago, we settled on our three favorite movies of all time. Although we'd love to add Blue Crush, there has been no turning back:
Casablanca (1942)Casablanca presents the most insightful (and humorous) view of human nature ever captured on film. In Notorious, Hitchcock explored the question our public discourse has finally caught up to:
My Brilliant Career (1979)
Why do (some) men—indeed, perhaps many—seem to loathe women so?
My Brilliant Career? We'll let you supply the capsule.
It's clear that we may need to add a fourth film to the mix. We refer to The Planet of the Apes (1968), which satirically offered a less sanguine view of human potential.
In Planet of the Apes, three members of our own species, Homo sapiens, crash land on an unknown planet. Spoiler alert:
At the end of the film, they realize that they're actually on the planet Earth, way off in the future! The planet is now in the hands of a devolved species which closely resembles a group of talking great apes.
These apes speak English, but that's pretty much it. A few among them maintain "human values." Most seem to be greatly devolved.
We thought of this film in the first twelve minutes of a certain cable news program last night. The segment suggested the possibility that, no matter how devolved our "cable news" gets, no one will ever notice.
The program's host devoted the first twelve minutes of her program to an increasingly familiar task. She spent the time reading amazingly tedious parts of the transcript of yesterday's pretrial hearing for the upcoming Manafort trial.
Just how thoroughly inconsequential was yesterday's pretrial hearing? So inconsequential that it wasn't covered in this morning's hard-copy New York Times at all.
In the hard-copy Washington Post, where it qualifies as a local event, the hearing was covered in a 340-word news report. (Online, the report is longer.)
In hard copy, the 340-word Post report appeared below the fold on page A4. You get the nugget of the report in the hard-copy headline:
Manafort trial in D.C. is delayed by a weekThere you have it! The upcoming trial, Manafort's second, had been scheduled to begin in D.C. on September 17. As a result of yesterday's hearing, it's now scheduled to begin on September 24.
The Post and the Times both seemed to feel that this was trivial stuff. But on the cable news program in question, the host devoted her first twelve minutes to reading the utterly trivial transcript of the discussion which led to this outcome.
You can watch this host's dramatic reading yourself. To do so, just click here.
Warning! Twelve minutes into the segment, the cable host will still be staging her dramatic reading. You'll see her supplying her own inflections as she reads each participant's lines, even though she has no way of knowing how the various statements actually sounded in court.
You won't see her consult a legal expert as to whether any of this is anything other than routine. For unknown reasons, this host has fallen in love with these dramatic readings; they're now a service she supplies on a regular basis.
Just think of all the serious topics which go unreported and undiscussed as this particular host kills time in this manner! The dead of Yemen and Puerto Rico get short shrift as we're offered this puzzling product, as do the orphans of the Southern border. We're constantly struck by the weirdness of these dramatic readings—but for some reason, cable viewers seem to keep watching this show.
Viewers may think these readings must be significant if this major star provides them. In truth, this stuff would have been too inane even for Court TV in the years before that little-loved channel was dumbed down even further, becoming TruTV.
Has a devolved race of great apes seized control of "cable news?" The prediction was made in 1968. Eight years later, the feature film Network predicted Bill O'Reilly!